War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0537 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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the certificates of two of the citizens named a witness by Mr. Berry, which are indorsed on the letter. I think my statement of the affair will be sufficient to convince General Forrest that he has been misinformed, and that no injustice has been done in the transaction.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


AUSTIN, MISS., October 24, 1864.

Major General N. B. FORREST:

GENERAL: I wish most respectfully to call your attention to the following statement of facts in relation to the recent murder of my brother while a prisoner at Helena, Ark., by a Federal lieutenant of the provost guard at that place: My brother, Ben. A. Berry, a member of Colonel Neely's regiment, was captured at Abbeville, some eighteen months ago, was taken North, and after some months was released from prison upon a sick parole. He was afterward taken to Vicksburg to be exchanged, but while going down the Mississippi River he jumped overboard and made his escape. His health being very bad, he made his way to our father's, in Crittenden County, Ark. On the 3rd of this month he was arrested while sick in bed, and taken to Helena. While going from the boat to the prison the lieutenant in charge of the guard accused him of belonging to Colonel Dobbin's regiment; he said he did not. The lieutenant then said, "Do you dispute my word?" He replied, "I dispute any one's word who says that I belong to Colonel Dobbin's regiment." The lieutenant then took a gun from one of the guard and struck at him several times with the bayonet. My brother up, when he fired upon him, shooting him through the breast, killing him instantly. This is a simple statement of the facts. They can be present and witnessed it: Thomas Quarles, John Smith, and Arthur Thompson, also one Tannehill, who was a prisoner with my brother. This occurred on the 7th [4th] of this month. I understand that the Federal lieutenant says in his justification that my brother was running from him, trying to make his escape. This occurred in open daylight in the streets of Helena, and he was surrounded by Federal soldiers, and no same man under the circumstances would have attempted an escape. Furthermore, the ball entered his breast, showing that he had his face to him at the time he was shot.

I ask, general, that you investigate the matter and breast, showing be done.

I am, general, with high respect, your obedient servant,


[First indorsement.]


In the Field, October 26, 1864.

Respectfully referred to Major General C. C. Washburn, commanding U. S. forces at Memphis, with the request that he will cause this affair to be thoroughly investigated, and if the officer be guilty of the murder, as within alleged, that he be punished accordingly.